Winter 2005 

      Vol. 5   


Where Is Our Voice?
Barbara Collins
Pat Joyce

Where is the Christian church?  Is it so disjointed that it is rendered impotent to raise a concerted voice of support for Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the “gutsy” Somalian woman and former Muslim who dared to question Islamic beliefs about the rights of women? 

A more pertinent question is:  Who is the church?  Every one who names the name of Christ, that’s who!  Is that you?  Yes, YOU are the church, not some governing body or council.  YOU have a voice.  Please use it by coming alongside this woman who has laid her very life on the line to speak out against the Muslim treatment of women.

How do Muslims treat women?  Two books, Voices Behind the Veil, by Ergun Caner, General Editor, and Unveiling Islam by Ergun and Emir Caner, have highlighted some of the Qur’an’s and Hadith’s(1) teachings concerning women and how these doctrines have impacted Muslim society.  These brothers are former Muslims who have embraced biblical Christianity.  Some of the basic Islamic beliefs and practices regarding women are:





































































































1.  Woman’s Inferiority.  Islam teaches that wives are a possession, and women are inherently inferior to men.  The Qur’an says in Suras 2:228 and 4:34(2), “Men are superior to women.”  Stating his belief in the inadequacy of the woman’s mind, Muhammad, the premier Messenger of Allah, not only reminded women that their witness is “equal to half that of a man” (Sura 4:11), but also that he had “not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion.  (Hadith 2.54).  {A hadith refers to written collections of the ancient Muslim oral traditions.}  

One flaw the church has continually failed to remove is their view of women from preconceived functions rather than from anointing to justify a non-existent scriptural mandate for a “chain-of-command.”

In her contribution to Voices Behind the Veil on the “Daughters in Islam,” Suzanne Lea Eppling states the complementarian(3) position by saying “men and women are different in function yet equal in essence before God.” Really?  Do Christian women buy the theory of male headship in the Body of Christ?  Yes! The Bible teaches equality of men and women.   Recent scholarship has clarified Paul’s intent in the few passages where he appears to limit women.  Unfortunately, the women who take a serious look at the original language and make their judgment based solely on what the Word says in its undiluted form without the trappings of the “doctrines of men” are few and far between.  

Did Jesus really mean for the church to be dominated by males with women in subjection not only to their husbands but to male leadership in the church as well?  Of course not.  Jesus never intended to side with traditional patriarchy but clearly demonstrated His positioning with biblical equality.  See the brief chapter on “Jesus, Friend of Women” from Sue Hyatt’s book, In the Spirit We’re Equal.

 2.  Female Circumcision   Such established inferiority is used to justify female circumcision(4). Sometimes called genital mutilation, it not only denies sexual pleasure but also makes intercourse painful and childbirth more dangerous.  The importance of this horrific act is underscored by the fact that some 135 million girls and women worldwide have been subjected to female circumcision, of which Ayaan Hirsi Ali is one.  Some Muslims believe female circumcision is mandated by Islam, but the practice predates Muhammad and is also common among some Christian communities.

One of the stated reasons is that a woman would not be able to control herself     and would end up in prostitution.  Such twisted logic takes the focus off the male, who was given permission for polygamy because one wife just wasn’t enough to protect the Muslim man from committing adultery.  Therefore, to suppress his desire for sex, he was allowed up to four wives; and he could also add concubines and slaves to his satisfaction. 

 3.  Female Infanticide(5)  Although the practice of female infanticide was birthed out of ancient tradition, it is based on the warped notion of their inferiority.  Female infants were simply laid facedown in the desert sand or buried in a waiting grave as soon as they were born.  Although Muhammad banned the practice of female infanticide when he wrote, “killing them is a great sin” (Sura 17:31), yet he did little more than grant them the right to live.

Female infanticide is a greater problem in India and China, but it has never completely stopped in Muslim nations. Are you aghast that infanticide is found in Islamic practice?  Then, surely you are aghast as well that many in the United States are FOR partial-birth abortion.  At least females born in the Muslim faith, yet targeted for a “waiting grave” following birth, receive more recognition than an aborted baby in the Western world.  Somehow a “waiting grave” has more dignity than a trash can.   

If you are one who in the past has yielded to an abortion, remember that God said, “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely.”  (Hosea 14:4).  When you ask for His forgiveness, He indeed forgives and promises to love you freely.  His ways are never meant to crush but to lift you.

4.  Women and Education.  Since Muslims believe that women possess an inferior mentality to men, one can see how that logic easily leads to women not being encouraged to seek an education.  After all, Muslims view the major function of a woman as fulfilling her designated role as wife and mother (Sura 2:233; 7:189).  Never mind that Muhammad supported the right of equal education of men and women.  With males firmly in charge of the educational system in Islamic countries, their culture is “safeguarded” from supposed female inferiority.  When women are educated or simply able to read, they are more likely to question and reject the cultural and religious systems that limit their influence.  The fact that the power to read is denied Muslim women in India is proved by their illiteracy rate of 98 percent.   Sadly, most of the Muslim world is ignoring the fact that a large body of research has established a strong correlation between literacy and social development with the greatest social benefits accruing from the extension of basic education to girls and women(6).

5.  Women’s Identity in Marriage.  A Muslim woman’s identity is largely anchored in her role as wife and child bearer.  The duty of the wife is to give her husband comforts in his bed whenever he wants her (Qur'an 61).   Christians believe that one’s identity, male or female, is our being bound to our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Beyond that relationship, some of us, whether we admit it or not, limit our identity to marriage and motherhood.  Whether Muslim or Christian, neither denies that the strength of a people comes from the strength of the family.   

Ayaan Hirsi Ali left Somalia for the Netherlands to escape a forced marriage.  In many circumstances, the bride and groom do not meet until the day the wedding contract is signed.  Muslim culture dictates that a father has the right to marry his daughter to anyone he wishes without her consent, one reason being that marriage is as much a joining of two families as two individuals.  Where is a woman’s right to choose her own mate?  Surely that question was asked by Ayaan.  

Just for the record, the marriage of child brides is alive well in the present century with “child” being a girl younger than fourteen years old.  The only requirement is that her menstrual cycle should have started.  Eppling concludes her chapter with these words regarding young, Muslim girls:  “While they wait for someone to tell them of Jesus, many are brutalized physically, married off young, and left to live in ignorance . . . We as Christians cannot sit back and let feminist groups and secular child advocates fight alone for the plight of millions of girls behind the veil of Islam.”  Well said, Suzanne! 

6. Women and Abuse.  According to the Qur’an, the man has the responsibility to admonish his wife, to desert her sexually, and to beat her to correct any rebelliousness in her behavior.  This beating is the husband’s unquestionable right.  The Qur’an ties righteousness to a wife being obedient to her husband as well as assuring her the key of Paradise. Should a Muslim woman fear rebelliousness in her husband, she should resort to diplomacy; yet when the husband fears rebelliousness in his wife, the Qur’an commands abuse and sexual desertion.

Beating the wife is the last resort before divorcing her, and that beating must not result in injury (Qur’an 59).  Men can divorce their wives in Islam, but the wife does not have that right (Sura 2:228).  Muslim women will endure tremendous abuse in an attempt to stay in a marriage.  Why?  Divorce often means she will lose her children and be left with no means of support.   

In a study that goes beyond, but includes, Muslims and Christians, a Harvard study concluded that “globally men’s violence against women causes more deaths and disability among females age 15-44 than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents or war.”  Another writer determined that globally, one-third to one half of all women report being abused.  Although Christianity does not condone the physical, emotional, or spiritual abuse of women, it happens anyway, the church being no exception.    

Christians in America have abdicated their responsibility to stand up for persecuted Christians worldwide.  With all the tremendous resources at our disposal, the plight of persecuted Christians overseas is largely ignored.  That being the case, why should we identify with the persecution of women, especially Muslim women?  When we carry the heavy load of our “complementarian” baggage around and fail to see the second-class status of women in our own churches, our vain attempt is likely our own failure to see biblical equality between men and women.    

Do we really believe that Ayaan has the right to free speech?  Does she have the right to do what most Muslim women won’t venture to do—criticize the physical and emotional abuse of women in Muslim society?  If your answer is yes, then speak as one who is not behind the veil but as one who has an unveiled face, reflecting the Lord’s glory, and as one who is “being transformed into his likeness.”  (II. Corinthians 3:18).

1.  The Qua’ran (Koran) is the sacred book of the Moslems that is comprised of reported revelations made to Mohammad by Allah.  A hadith is a written tradition based on ancient Muslim oral traditions about the life and teachings of Muhammad.
Sura is the word for chapter.
3.  For further information on complementarianism, see
CBE International.
4.  Genital mutilation can involve clipping or burning the clitoris and cutting the external genitals.
5.  Female infanticide is defined by UNICEF as the abortion of a fetus because it is female or the killing of an infant by a relative because it is female. Infanticide has been practiced as a brutal method of family planning in societies where boy children are still valued, economically and socially, above girls.
Adult Education in a Polarizing World, Education for All, UNESCO, 1997.

If you have enjoyed this newsletter, you'll find past editions by going to the Newsletter Archives.  The topic for each newsletter, since its inception over four years ago, is given to help you find something of interest.  However,  the newsletter always contains more than the main topic.  Curious?  To take a look, click here.


We encourage you to forward the newsletter to those you believe would be interested. 


This newsletter is dedicated to Ayaan Hirsi Ali who is risking her life to speak out against the brutality brought to bear against Muslim women by their husbands and by their families.  An editorial in The Dallas Morning News, December 3, 2005 says:  

"You may never have heard of her, but Ayaan Hirsi Ali is one of the bravest women on the planet.  Ms. Hirsi Ali, 37, was born in Somalia and fled her native land for the Netherlands to escape a forced marriage.  She renounced her Muslim faith and became an advocate of the rights of women in Islamic countries.  She has repeatedly denounced what she describes as the physical and emotional abuse of women in Muslim society, even among Islamic immigrant communities in Europe, where forced marriages and female genital mutilation are not uncommon. 

“In 2003, she was elected to the Dutch Parliament but has had to go into hiding on several occasions after receiving death threats.  Her most recent retreat into the underground came after the Nov. 2 slaughter of filmmaker Theo van Gogh on the streets of Amsterdam.  Police have charged a Muslim extremist with that murder.  Ms. Hirsi Ali collaborated with the assassinated artist on Submission, an 11-minute film. . . protesting the condition of women under Islam.  A note pinned to the dead man's chest with a dagger said she would be next.

“Days ago, Ms. Hirsi Ali gave her first media interview since going into hiding.  As defiant as ever, she vowed to make a sequel to Submission, this one focusing on the oppression of individual rights in Islamic society.  A jihadi's knife is the only thing that's going to stop this courageous woman.  Although she is still under protection, Ali is now back in Parliament and running for a second term. 

“All of us must do everything we can to protect her.  Whether one agrees with her views on Islam is entirely beside the point.  In the West, no one may threaten or carry out violence to silence speech.  This fundamental right is under threat today from Islamic extremists.  It must be defended without hesitation and without apology. 

“This African refugee is an icon of free speech, women's rights and individual dignity--values at the core of Western civilization.  All who believe in liberty and human rights--especially artists, writers, political activists, feminists--must stand with this indomitable woman."   

 As Christians, we must remember to pray for her safety while acknowledging that “feminists” used in the editorial’s last sentence is subject to definition in Christian circles as well as the difference that exists between secular and Christian feminists.

Please note that the above editorial was written on December 3, 2004.  Although she is still under protection, Ali is now back in Parliament running for a second term.  In a nearly unprecedented move, she has resigned from the Dutch Labor party and is running for a second term from a more conservative party.

What’s Happening
 on the Web?

We want to call your attention to some outstanding new articles that have recently been put up on the website.  You can always find the latest by clicking on “What’s New” found at the top of each page.  Notice that three of the following four articles are on abuse.  That’s because we have launched a new section on the website on “Abuse.”  Check the home page in the far right corner of the topics.

What is Verbal Abuse? - by Dr. Jay Grady  This article is taken from Dr. Grady's book, Stop Verbal Abuse, in which he addresses many issues regarding verbal abuse from recognition to overcoming the effects.  Millions of people around the world are limited in their pursuits of happiness because of low self-esteem and lack of confidence as a result of verbal abuse. Much has been written about physical abuse.  Here the equally damaging subject of verbal abuse is addressed.

Jesus Was A Feminist by Leonard Swidler  This article concludes that our Lord Jesus was a feminist.  He defines feminist as “a person who is in favor of, and who promotes, the equality of women with men. A feminist is person who advocates and practices treating women primarily as human persons (as men are so treated) and willingly contravenes social customs in so acting.” 

Verbal Abuse in Relationships - by Patricia Evans  This article address verbally abusive relationships which have been ignored by our culture for thousands of years.  It touches on some forms of verbal abuse from the most subtle to the most direct and notes that it is not easy for people in abusive relationships to understand what is going on. 

Spain Hits Back at Abuse Culture  New laws designed to curb domestic violence are currently passing through the Spanish parliament.  The BBC World Service's Everywoman programme examines why the government is tackling the issue now.


To order Click Here

When we undertook the project of reprinting God's Word to Women, we were ignorant of what it would take both physically and spiritually to get the job done.  The resistance started slowly and increased steadily as the process moved forward.  

When the shipment finally arrived, we were down to 8 copies of the former printing.  Despite the problems, God was right on time.   The formatting is not perfect, but it is much easier to read.  We have learned more of what it means to persevere; and the next time we reprint, we'll be better prepared for the battle.  



"Ask Dr. Jay"

Dr. Jay Grady, the author of Stop Verbal Abuse, holds a Ph.D. in Christian counseling from Therapon University where he graduated with honors.  He is a leading authority in the area of verbal abuse and verbally abusive relationships.  Dr. Jay has been licensed and ordained for thirty-nine years. He has been involved in leadership positions of several churches, serving as an associate or senior pastor.  His years of ministry, counseling hundreds of individuals, certainly qualify him as an authority in helping hurting people

Dr. Grady has volunteered to answer your questions on verbal abuse.   Here's how it works.   Of the questions you submit, he will choose two or three each month and respond .   He asks that you keep the questions as short as possible.   The first questions with responses  will be posted in February 2005. 


We get mail nearly every day.  While much of it is from people in the  United States, a surprising proportion  comes from all around the world. 

 A  link on our website called "letters"  is  where we post some of the mail we receive along with our responses.   Should you be interested in past years, an archives section  is posted.  Below are a few letters from the last couple of years.


This is what I wanted to know.  I hope to learn more from you.  Since I started teaching some topics from  these articles, God has increased the number of women in our ministry.  We used to meet in a small house but now we are meeting at an open ground because of the increase.  The attendance is growing every week.  Indeed IT'S A "GOD THING."  BlessingsKassim

Kassim has a women's ministry which has grown from a few to over 100 since he started using material from our site.

Hi,  I've been reading GWTW . I like it so much that I've even ordered it, but I need your advice on which  Bible I should be reading (to check what you have written).  Could you please tell me which one is the closest to the truth ?   Thank you,  Suzie

Dear Suzie: There is a gender neutral NIV translation but right now there is no Bible that is free from the traditional bias against women.  All it does is correct the words that are translated translated “men” or “man” or “he,” “his”, “him,” etc., when it should have been “person,” or “human,” or “mankind”  or a neuter pronoun.  Personally, I use the Spirit Filled Life Bible. However,   all the comments about women were  written  by Larry Christensen , author of The Christian Family, which  is  about as patriarchal as a book can get.  Most of the other notes are excellent.   It is not gender neutralWhen I have a question about whether men or both men and women are meant,  I have to look it up.

You will find that you are going to have to study to settle the question in your own mind and heart.  There are many excellent articles on our website and most give the references  for  their information. Scholarship for the last 30 or more years has proved that the bias against women is not scriptural but the wonderful books that could be an aid in setting women and men free from traditional positions have been kept off the shelves of most bookstores.

When an person goes against tradition, much opposition arises.  Remember what happened to Jesus.   Susan Hyatt's doctoral dissertation is a wealth of documented references.  Some of them are on the computer where you can access them without having to go to buy books or order them from inner library loan. (Your local library will seldom have books on this topic)  Go to her website, and click on dissertation.  Blessings, Pat

Scripture says, "Study to show yourselves approved."  I wish there were an easier way, but things of value are worth the work.  I find that it is only when I really study and understand and get that "amen" in my stomach that I really have "a reason for the hope that is in me."

We wish you well on your search.  If we can be of any help, please write.  Father, I ask you now to lead Suzie to the information that she seeks.  Help her to find truth and settle this issue in her heart.  We ask in your name. 

Dear Suzie:   The only thing I would add to what Pat wrote is the Study Bible for Women.  It is the New Revised Standard Version and is edited by Catherine Clark Kroeger, the founder of Christians for Biblical Equality.  Here’s the link to this New Testament.  The New Testament, of course, is the place where all the controversy arises.  In His love, Barbara

Just today received my first newsletter from you - and all I can say after a very brief visit to your site is wow - I delved into the book GWTW and then ch 11 of God's Gals - thank you and tis not by accident that now is the time for you in my life.   mae

And then, one  simply said:

"You're Nuts!"

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